Implementing an Active Travel Strategy for improved well-being

August 4th, 2012 by Living Streets Guernsey

Walking is the most environmentally friendly and healthy form of transport.

Walking keeps you slim and fit and reduces stress.

Regular daily exercise built into your lifestyle like walking (or cycling) to school or work is recommended by health professionals.

Promoting “healthy lifestyle choices and social well-being” is the number one aim of the 20/20 Vision of Guernsey’s Health and Social Services Department.

However, the rise in car ownership in Guernsey, the emphasis on accommodating the car, and the pollution caused by too much traffic (25.1% contribution to greenhouse gas emissions) has resulted in a decline in walking over the years.

A high priority in any island road transport strategy should be to redress this balance with safer and more attractive conditions for walkers (and cyclists).

It should be just as important as developing a better bus service.

Indeed, we would argue that Active Travel should be at the heart of the Transport Strategy.

We need:

  • Funds allocated to develop safe cycling and walking routes incorporating safer urban road crossings
  • A redesign of the built environment to create environments that put vulnerable road users first
  • Investment in a behavioural change programme and support for individuals to help them initiate and sustain routine walking (perhaps with the Health Promotion Unit)
  • A programme of education in schools to promote walking and cycling to school.
  • To stick to the original rules about free school buses where children over eight need to live 2.5 miles away from their school to qualify for free transport – to encourage walking and cycling.
  • To encourage all businesses to develop workplace “active travel” plans, perhaps with an awards scheme like the business Environmental awards.
  • Better integration between bus transport and cycling – e.g. bike and ride (buses carrying bikes and/or bike stands at suitable bus stops).
  • More expenditure on bus shelters – surely we can get shelters sponsored?
  • More investment in bus promotion – direct marketing; working with the media to highlight islanders who use the bus service for commuting; promoting Ormer cards within the business community; more face to face promotion of the buses within organisations.
  • Less expenditure on engineering related to traffic flow and accommodating motor vehicles
  • Reconsideration of Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) routes in the light of the increase in the number and width of commercial vehicles.
  • Incentives to encourage motorists to invest in smaller vehicles and electric vehicles
  • To develop a car sharing database to tackle the sole occupancy drive to work
  • Encourage the setting up of a “dial a ride” (taxi/bus) scheme

Appoint an Active Travel Officer to lead these initiatives and to work with all States of Guernsey Departments, and go into schools and businesses to promote active travel (in a similar vein to the work carried out by the Recycling Officer or Sports Development Officers in their respective fields).

 

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